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EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging Asia stocks, currencies weaken as Fed signals tapering

    * Singapore, Indonesia stocks dip over 1%
    * Thailand, Philippines snap 3-day winning streaks
    * Philippines lowers 2021 economic growth target
    * Indonesia c. bank expected to hold rates at record low

    By Arundhati Dutta
    Aug 19 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian stocks fell and currencies
weakened on Thursday after minutes from the U.S. Federal
Reserve's last meeting showed that tapering of monetary stimulus
could start this year, helping the dollar higher and weighing on
risk appetite.
    The South Korean won led losses among currencies,
as the greenback hit multi-month highs against peers.

    The minutes from July's policy meeting showed Fed officials
discussed when to taper monthly bond purchases and flagged
stimulus easing could start this year if the economy continued
to improve.
    "We see a possibility of Fed Chair Powell indicating
'progress' has been made towards the Fed's goals but stop short
of giving a strong signal of a September taper announcement when
he speaks at the Jackson Hole Symposium next week," Sophia Ng,
analyst at MUFG Bank, wrote in a note. 
    "Announcing in September could also be too soon given
uncertainties with regards to the Delta variant and its impact
on the economy," the note added.
    Taiwanese stocks led losses among equities, dropping
more than 2%.
    Indonesian equities fell up to 1.5% ahead of its
central bank's rate decision later in the day. 
    A Reuters poll expects the bank will keep its benchmark
interest rate at a record low as it tries to continue to support
the economy amid COVID-19 induced restrictions.
    "What investors will be looking out for is if BI (Bank
Indonesia) will continue to finance the budget deficit for the
third consecutive year in 2022," Ng said. 
    The Singapore stock benchmark hit its lowest in six
weeks, while the Singapore dollar was at its weakest in
almost a month.
    Malaysian stocks were down 0.4% amid reports that
the country's former deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob
was poised to win the premiership race after the coalition
government collapsed earlier this week.
    The Thai and Philippine benchmark indexes
snapped three-day winning streaks. 
    The Philippines slashed its 2021 economic growth target,
reflecting the impact of a two-week lockdown of the capital
region to contain the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

    Markets in India were closed for a public holiday.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    **Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 0.8 basis
points at 6.329%
    **Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield is up 0.3 basis points
at 1.913%
    **Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 0.5 basis
points at 1.396%
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                       
 at   0348 GMT                                      
 COUNTRY   FX RIC          FX     FX  INDE  STOCKS  STOCKS
                      DAILY %  YTD %     X   DAILY   YTD %
                                                 %  
 Japan                  -0.38  -6.28  <.N2  -0.69   -0.18
                                      25>           
 China     <CNY=CFXS    -0.14  +0.54  <.SS   -0.71   -0.37
           >                          EC>           
 Indonesi               -0.24  -2.53  <.JK   -1.28    1.02
 a                                    SE>           
 Malaysia               -0.07  -5.17  <.KL   -0.47   -6.71
                                      SE>           
 Philippi               -0.34  -4.99  <.PS   -0.39   -6.80
 nes                                  I>            
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    -0.59  -7.55  <.KS   -1.30    8.51
           >                          11>           
 Singapor               -0.31  -3.20  <.ST   -0.93    9.10
 e                                    I>            
 Taiwan                 -0.26  +2.03  <.TW   -2.16   11.75
                                      II>           
 Thailand               -0.35  -10.3  <.SE   -0.27    6.79
                                   0  TI>           
 
 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
Holmes)
  
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